Sunday, 12 October 2014

What a journey: Google Teacher Academy 2014

I attended the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney during the recent school holidays, and what an incredible few days it was. It has taken a while to write this blog post with an assignment deadline the following weekend and then getting ready for the start of Term 4, but my mind has constantly returned to the GTA in Sydney. I was extremely excited to be selected to attend the GTA this year with 50 educators from all over Australia and New Zealand. It was a 2-day experience at the Google Offices in Darling Harbour under a completely re-envisioned GTA led by Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry from NoTosh & Google's Suan Yeo. It was 2 days of intensive sessions, with 'Design Thinking' the focus in guiding a group of teachers that will lead change.

Google Teacher Academy, Sydney 2014

Before the GTA started I had no idea what really to expect, I watched and read about previous GTA's and then, when it started to emerge that this was going to be completely different it really intrigued me. This GTA was not about tools, it was about pedagogy for change and building a strong network. The major focus was all about 'Moonshot Thinking' and creating your own big idea to take on. 

We had been divided into 8 different groups with a mentor assigned to each group. My group was Team 'Giant Leap' led by +Matt Ives from Wellington. Part of this brilliant group were +Julie Lindsay+Daniele Casolin+Maria Bousnakis+Kimberley Sutton+Therese Horley and myself. I fantastic group of educators that exchanged and challenged ideas, and supported each other. The whole process of Design Thinking was new to me, and an invaluable experience. Going through the different stages of the process was challenging and ultimately very rewarding. One of our main focus areas was working through a 'How Might We' task. This involved completing this prompt: How might WE ACTION for WHOM in order to CHANGE SOMETHING. This would provide a clear sense of purpose for our 'Moonshot'.

This was my statement after a bit of deliberation with a few people and some reflection:

The term 'Learners' refers to both Teachers and Students. I'm excited about the prospect that this statement presents. How to connect and build a network in Maryborough, the Fraser Coast, the state of Queensland, Australia and beyond. 

In the next few blog posts I will start pulling some of the ideas that have come from this process and how I plan on launching into it over the next few months. 

A lot of the events and Google Offices were covered in so many other blogs and here are some of the brilliant blog posts that explain a lot about the 2 days, and makes it unnecessary for me to rewrite it again:

#GTASyd14 - It's Google Teacher Academy, but NoTosh you know it by +Claire Amos 

Google Thinking, Lone Nuts and Moonshots by +Steve Mouldey 
Google Mission Control [#GTASYD14] / Destination Moonshot! by +Justine Driver 

#GTASYD 2014 - Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds by +Aaron Davis